Here We Go! Do You Build Bridges?

Here We Go! Do You Build Bridges?

WRITTEN by TONI CLARK, Co-founder, iBuildBridges


2019 marks the beginning of our second year as an organization.  We have accomplished a good deal.

We have clarified our mission.

Use music and storytelling to inspire individuals to actively build relationships with people of different backgrounds.

We have incorporated as a non-profit and filed the needed paperwork to have the IRS recognize our legal status at tax return time.

We have developed a brand and image that we have incorporated onto our website.

We have the mechanisms in place to use social media to get our message out and to encourage others to share in our mission.

We have begun the necessary steps to invigorate our mission with live musical performances.  We have a musical director, an executive producer—both of whom have experience creating and performing in live musical performances.

We have begun to tell personal stories that illustrate bridge building experiences and issued invitations for others to join us by posting their own stories.

We have recruited talented musicians who share our enthusiasm for building bridges with people whose religious, cultural and world views may differ from ours and who, like us,  believe that music and story are conduits for connecting us.

Our musicians are rehearsing on a regular schedule even as we look further for musical talent and affiliations that can help us deliver our message in the wider world.

As we have accomplished these broad organizational goals, each of us have also developed our personal commitment to building bridges every day.  I personally have have discovered that opportunities abound.   I am learning to pause when meeting someone from a different country of origin or when finding myself in a political. conversation with someone whose views differ from mine.  I recognize these opportunities as chances to get curious, ask questions and begin the process of making friendly contact.  I’ve learned that it is often easy to start a chat with someone from another country.  For the most part I find people eager to talk about their ‘home country,’ as well as their experience in the United States.  A harder challenge at this time comes in political conversations, but even then, I am learning that asking  ‘how is it you have come to decide to support that political position,’ often opens the door to a real exchange of views instead of a battle.